'What do we know about motivating our distance students to learn?'

Category: Education

Presentation Description

This is a recording of a presentation given to Arden University UK. The presentation surveys some of the most important learning motivation theories and looks at how they might be applied to distance and online students to increase their success.


Presentation Transcript


‘What do we know about motivating students to learn?’ Ormond Simpson Visiting Fellow - University of London International Programmes Previously Visiting Professor - Open Polytechnic of New Zealand Previously Senior Lecturer - UK Open University


2 The disappearing distance student


3 Conventional and distance graduation rates compared


4 Professor Michael Moore Moore’s ‘Theory of Transactional Distance’ The isolation of distance students (from other students, their tutors and the institution) is a principal factor in dropping out.

Importance of learning motivation:

5 Importance of learning motivation “The best predictor of student retention is motivation. “Retention services need to clarify and build on motivation and address motivation-reducing issues. “Most students dropout because of reduced motivation” Anderson – San Diego 2003 Professor Edward Anderson 1942-2003


6 “The important thing is not so much that every child should be taught, as that every child should be given the wish to learn.” - Lubbock “ No teacher can ever be certain that their teaching will cause a learner to learn”. - Ramsden (2003) Professor Paul Ramsden John Lubbock (1834-1913 )

Learning motivation:

7 Learning motivation What motivates distance students to learn? Can we help them enhance their motivation? And keep it going? Was I worrying too much about my teaching and not enough about motivating my students to learn?


Motivational online text? Motivational online teaching and support?

Learning motivation theories 1 :

Learning motivation theories 1 ‘Self-Determination Theory’ ‘Achievement Goal Theory’ ‘Self-Efficacy Theory ‘Interest Development Model’ ‘Expectancy Value theory’ ‘Epistemological Identity’ T heory ‘Self-Concordance Model’ ‘Belief in a Just World’ Theory - and many others…


10 Four types of motivation (Self-Concordance Model; Sheldon, 2001) External ( driven by outside forces) Introjected (avoiding guilt and anxiety) Identified (subscribing to educational values) Intrinsic (driven by curiosity and pleasure) Kennon Sheldon Professor of Psychological Sciences University of Missouri,


“The philosophers have only  interpreted  the world in various ways. The point, however, is to  change   it”


12 Carole Dweck ‘Self Theories’ Martin Seligman ‘Positive Psychology’ Learning motivation theories 2 John Keller ‘ARCS Theory’ John Hattie ‘Self-Reporting’ John Sweller - ‘Cognitive Load Theory’

Keller’s ARCS Theory:

Keller’s ARCS Theory Get learner’s Attention – and keep it Ensure its Relevance to what they need E nhances their Confidence in their learning As well as their Satisfaction in their achievement

Keller A = Getting Attention :

Keller A = Getting Attention Use: - incongruity – for example humour - empathy – for example stories, sharing personal thoughts - personality – displaying individuality But everything in a course text should be relevant to learning. 14


UKOU First Year courses - initial pages Flesch Reading Ease Maths Difficult Arts Difficult Science Fairly difficult Social Science Fairly difficult OU Access Course Fairly difficult Reader’s Digest Plain English Keller A = Keeping attention Readability scores – Flesch Reading E ase ( FRE ) 15

Keller’s R = Relevance:

Keller’s R = Relevance Ensure relevance - clear objectives 16

Keller’s C = Confidence:

Keller’s C = Confidence Distance students say the most important skills and qualities for tutors ( G askell et al, 2000): ‘Approachability’ Expertise 17


18 Keller’s S = Satisfaction Professor John Hattie - ‘Meta-surveys’ Student self-assessment/self-grading Response to intervention Teacher credibility Providing formative assessments Classroom discussion Teacher clarity Feedback Reciprocal teaching Teacher-student relationships fostered Spaced vs. mass practice Meta-cognitive strategies taught and used Acceleration Classroom behavioural techniques Vocabulary programs Repeated reading programs Creativity programs Student prior achievement Self-questioning by students Study skills Problem-solving teaching Not labelling students Concept mapping Cooperative vs individualistic learning Direct instruction Tactile stimulation programs Mastery learning Worked examples Visual-perception programs Peer tutoring Cooperative vs competitive learning Phonics instruction Student- centered teaching Classroom cohesion Pre-term birth weight Peer influences Classroom management techniques Outdoor-adventure programs ‘Self-reporting’ S tudents should know how well they’re doing

Cognitive Load Theory (Sweller, 1998) Transfer of learning Initial learning goes into the working (short) memory Needs to be transferred to long term memory :

Cognitive Load Theory ( Sweller , 1998 ) Transfer of learning Initial learning goes into the working (short) memory Needs to be transferred to long term memory Working memory Long term memory Learning 19

Cognitive Design Theory 1- increase the efficiency of working memory :

Cognitive Design Theory 1- increase the efficiency of working memory Use worked examples . 20


Online text Cognitive Design Theory 2 - Reduce the working memory load Avoid redundancy - presenting concepts in too many ways


Online text podcasts pencasts videoclips blogs forums wikis audioclips Cognitive Design Theory 2 - Reduce the working memory load Avoid redundancy - presenting concepts in too many ways ‘Course Exuberance Syndrome’


When writing a course I try to put in… personal experiences acknowledging difficulties feedback opportunities worked examples pictures jokes and cartoons , s tories and poems games - as long as they’re relevant and not redundant

Self Theories – Carol Dweck:

24 24 Self Theories – Carol Dweck Q1 . You have a certain amount of intelligence and can’t do much to change it Answer Yes or No Q2 . Success = X% intelligence + Y% effort - Give values for X and Y

Self Theories – Carole Dweck:

25 25 Self Theories – Carole Dweck Q1 . You have a certain amount of intelligence and can’t do much to change it Answer Yes or No Q2 . Success = X% intelligence + Y% effort - Give values for X and Y If you said ‘Yes’ to 1 and X > Y you may be an ‘entity’ theorist If you said No to 1 and X < Y you may be an ‘incremental’ theorist.

Theories of intelligence - Dweck:

26 26 Theories of intelligence - Dweck ‘Entity’ theorists believe that their intelligence is fixed and cannot be altered through effort. ‘Incremental’ theorists’ believe that intelligence is malleable and can be changed through effort . Entity theorists will study but give up easily when they encounter difficulties or failure. Incremental theorists will keep trying despite initial difficulties or failure. Dweck tested her theory in a New York school “..the effects are far beyond what you might expect from the simplicity of the interventions” Dweck


27 The ‘Positive Psychology’ Model “Positive Psychology… is the psychology of happiness, flow, and personal strengths .” (Seligman, 1999).


Ilona Boniwell 1. Look for strengths that can overcome weaknesses 2. Praise effort rather than achievement . (Praising achievement may harm motivation. If a student runs into difficulties, they may assume they’ve reached the limit of their intelligence and give up - Dweck . But if you praise effort it’s more likely that students will continue to keep trying).


29 The ‘Strengths Approach’ to student support an nine point plan to strengthen ‘social identity’ Emphasise the positive during initial contact Focus on existing assets & competencies Draw out past successes and high point moments Encourage ‘positive affect’ (hope and elevated thoughts) Identify underlying values, goals & motivation Encourage narration (life story, m aking sense of it) Identify resources, protective factors & potentials of students Validate effort rather than achievement ONLY THEN, if possible, talk about uncertainties, fears, lack of skills ( Boniwell , 2003)


WPI – ‘Wise Psychological Interventions’ “…..recent narrative reviews reveal numerous brief, social-psychological interventions, designed to leverage motivational processes that increase student learning outcomes .” Lazowski & Hulleman Review of Educational Research (2013) ‘A mind trick that can break down your brain’s barrier to success’ New S cientist 9 March 2016 New Scientist 9 March 2016


Meta-surveys of Wise Psychological Interventions - in order of effectiveness Transformative experiences Self-determination Interest Goal setting Implicit theories of intelligence Attribution Self-confrontation Possible selves Multiple theoretical perspectives Expectancy-value Achievement goals Self-affirmation Need for achievement Social belongingness Self-efficacy Achievement emotions Lazowski and Hulleman (2015) ‘Motivation Interventions in Education: A Meta-Analytic Review’ - Review of Educational Research


32 Anderson - Proactive Contact “Student self-referral does not work as a mode of promoting persistence. Students who need services the most refer themselves the least. “ Effective retention services take the initiative in outreach and timely interventions with those students.’ (Anderson, US)

Funding learner support – increasing funding from students:

33 Funding learner support – increasing funding from students £ Invest in student support and teaching Increases student retention 1. Increased student fee income 2. Students willing to pay more? A positive funding triangle?


t ext messaging WhatsApp Yik Yak Snapchat p hone email postcard Media options!? facebook Twitter


Summary 1 Can we enhance our students’ motivation using Cognitive Psychology? Epistemological Identity - Ensuring students on right course Achievement Goal Theory - Setting challenging but achievable tasks Self Concordance model - Making learning enjoyable - use humour Keller - Being approachable, empathising with student difficulties Hattie , Sweller – Giving many feedback opportunities and using worked examples Keller and Sweller - Checking your readability and cognitive load


Summary 2 Can we enhance our students’ motivation using S ocial and Positive Psychology ? 1. Dweck - Persuading students of the importance of effort 2. Dweck - Praising effort rather than achievement 3. Boniwell - Emphasising students’ strengths rather than weaknesses 4. Boniwell - Taking a personal interest in students 5. Anderson - Being proactive and intervening


Student motivation – the Mother Method More research needed…


38 Book ‘Supporting S tudents for Success in Online and Distance Education’ Routledge 2012 http://tinyurl.com/ supporting-students Website www.ormondsimpson.com


What motivates distance education tutors?

Institutional attitudes? :

Institutional attitudes? “The biggest barrier to increasing retention in an institution is the institution itself” - Johnston (Napier Univ. S cotland, 2002) 40 Barriers to increasing retention

Attitudes to student retention 1 :

A ttitudes to student retention 1 The ‘Darwinistas’ Students drop out because they're not intelligent enough, unmotivated or lazy. “We’re here to weed out the unfit” Entity theorists? 41

Attitudes to student retention 2 :

Attitudes to student retention 2 The Fatalistas Students dropout for reasons beyond our control “Students are doomed to pass or fail and there’s not much we can do about it” Entity theorists? 42

Attitudes to student retention 3 :

Attitudes to student retention 3 The ‘ Retentioneer ’ Students most often dropout because of lack of proactive support. “We should help students be as successful as they can be” Incremental theorists? 43


Thank you! www.ormondsimpson.com

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